The Squirrel Nut Zippers will return to the road for four shows in February with The Old Ceremony in Baltimore, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and at the Cat’s Cradle. The Zippers briefly broke into the national spotlight in 1997, peaking with Hot at No. 27 on The Billboard 200. Turmoil followed, and Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher­the writers responsible for two-thirds of Hotdid not appear on the last Zippers album, 2000’s Bedlam Ballroom. Zipper Katharine Whalen, now also pursuing a solo career, says the band did not play Maxwell’s songs (or much from Hot) for that album’s tour, but audiences still enjoy the other material. “It’s a trip, and people really still respond to this stuff. They’re mouthing the words,” says Whalen. “I’m excited about it.”

Maxwell-Mosher do have a pretty important bill ahead of them, though: Maxwell’s 3-year-old son, Esten, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. He is responding well to treatments, but meeting the deductibles for some of the medical bills may require a bit of help from Maxwell’s friends. He joins Mosher, Velvet, Stratocruiser, The Never, The Breaks, Bus Stop Eddy, Tommy Edwards and Baron von Rumblebus (a children’s band featuring Maxwell and Mosher) for a benefit at The Scoreboard in Pittsboro on Sunday, Dec. 9 from 4 to 10 p.m. Art, instruments and antiques will be available in a silent auction. For more, see

Broken bills

Speaking of benefits, WKNC 88.1’s fourth annual Double Barrel Benefit looks to be the biggest boost for the station yet. Though the lineup hasn’t been officially announced yet, an unnamed station official says The Mountain Goats are scheduled to headline on Friday, Feb. 2, with The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers, The Old Ceremony and Megafaun in support roles. The second night promises Future Islands, Tigerbearwolf, The Nein and one other band. As always, organizers say to expect a commemorative T-shirt and unreasonably cheap door costs, with all net proceeds supporting general station upkeep and upgrade.


Congratulations are in order: Loafers Beach Club, the Raleigh shag club featured in Chris Toenes’ September 2006 cover story on the survival of shag in the southeast, won the Shag Contest of the Year Award from the Competitive Shaggers Association last Saturday. The award was for the club’s October contest.

Welcome to Durham, USA, a film about gang violence in Durham directed by Christopher “Play” Martin, took home the Best Documentary Award (for Features) in Achievement in Filmmaking at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in November. This is an updated second cut of the film, whose soundtrack features music by Little Brother and Jozeemo. The documentary and soundtrack are scheduled for national commercial release on Jan. 23. Grayson Currin